The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) is the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education courses in the UK. Founded in 1903 to support the educational needs of working men and women, today’s WEA now runs over 10,000 courses each year for adults of all ages and from all walks of life.The WEA was founded when there were limited chances for working people in education. Over a hundred years later, the WEA remains committed to offering educational opportunities for adults from all backgrounds and particularly those who missed out on education first time around.
A nationwide network of learning
The WEA is one of the UK’s biggest charities and operates at a local, regional and national level. Nine regional offices in England, a Scottish Association and over 600 WEA local branches and groups make up the WEA’s National Association. Through these regional and local centres we provide classes and courses for more than 90,000 adults every year.
A national voluntary association
The WEA is a membership organisation and has over 19,000 members, many of whom are actively involved in the work of the Association. The WEA has a proud tradition of voluntary and democratic practice. At branch, region and national levels, voluntary members are involved in the planning and provision of courses, as well as the management and governance of the Association.
Courses for everyone
The WEA creates and delivers courses in response to local need, working with hundreds of local community groups and organisations across the country. Part-time day and evening courses are delivered locally in community and workplace settings.
The WEA welcomes all adults. We create friendly and supportive learning environments in which you can engage freely and equally with tutors and other learners. You can become involved in organising and planning your own learning.
There are thousands of WEA courses running across the country to suit all tastes and educational backgrounds. The WEA’s nine regional offices run part-time classes open to any adult on a wide range of topics. Classes are often arranged by one of the WEA’s 600 voluntary branches or local groups.
Subjects are wide-ranging and include literature, art, history, yoga, music, social sciences, computing courses, people’s history, women’s studies and community training. Courses can be found in cities, towns and villages across the country. Classes are publicised locally and further information on Yorkshire & Humber courses is available by 'Finding a Course'.
Learning with a community focus
Over half of the WEA’s courses are developed to meet the needs and interests of particular groups of people. In partnership with local community organisations we aim to provide positive learning opportunities for adults with little previous educational background, or those with a disappointing experience of formal education. Across the country we work with hundreds of community, voluntary and statutory organisations, providing over 5,000 courses annually. We take education to where people live and work and to places where they feel comfortable learning.
Our courses are run in some of the most disadvantaged urban and rural communities, in local venues such as community centres, schools and health centres. The choice of subject and method of learning are often negotiated and agreed between tutor and students at the outset of a course. Popular subjects include arts and crafts, family learning, health and personal development, literacy and numeracy and information technology.
Workplace learning students come to the WEA through their place of work and through our partnerships with trade unions and employers. We focus on workers in the public and private sectors who have experienced little or no formal learning since leaving school.
A wide range of learning opportunities, from Skills for Life, including adult literacy and numeracy in the workplace, to higher education Access courses, are provided for adults who want to return to learning and further their personal mand occupational development.
Working in collaboration with UNISON we promote lifelong learning in the NHS and local government services. We also work in partnership with other trade unions to deliver workplace learning across a number of industries. Working with the TUC the WEA trade union studies tutors deliver the union representative programme, including the TUC access programme.
Visit the National WEA website